When Rihanna walked the red carpet at the 2015 Met Gala sporting a 25-kilo dress spun from gold and fox fur, the fashion world gawked, and a new star was born: Chinese designer Guo Pei. Raised in Beijing (and still based there), Guo has become much more than a top fashion personage—being Chinese, she is both a living example of China’s rising fortunes and a political symbol, whether she wishes to be or not (she says not), of the possibilities for achievement under the Chinese regime. (It is not for nothing that Time magazine put her on its list of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2016).
Now, the legendary designer’s story has spurred the new documentary Yellow is Forbidden, made by Auckland filmmaker Pietra Brettkelly.
Brettkelly’s deep-dive chronicle of Guo as person, fashion star and emblem benefits enormously from the fact that she had full cooperation from the energetic designer. But this isn’t hagiography: the behind-the-scenes access to the preparations for Guo’s make-or-break Paris runway show, while both fascinating and tense, show the conflicted side of the fashion world and Guo’s place in it.
With a client list that includes Beyonce and Rihanna, fashion lovers ought to be waiting on the edge of their seats to see this eye-opening story and Vancouverites have the chance to see the film on the big screen this week at the Vancouver International Film Festival. Yellow is Forbidden (https://goviff.org/yellow-is-forbidden/) is playing Oct 7 & 10, with Guo Pei herself set to attend the film’s opening screening at the Vancouver Playhouse on the 7th, ahead of an exhibition of her work titled Guo Pei: Couture Beyond opening at the Vancouver Art Gallery (https://www.vanartgallery.bc.ca/the_exhibitions/exhibit_guopei.html) later this month.
More information about Yellow is Forbidden can be found at the VIFF website: https://goviff.org/yellow-is-forbidden/)
For $2 off your ticket price, order online with the promo code VF18YELLOW